Meet the Wills, Trusts & Estates Team with Katie Gosling

What is your role in the team and how long have you been at Sintons?

I am a senior associate in the team and joined in October 2022.

Tell us about your career to date…

I studied for my law degree and later my Masters in Law at the University of Cambridge, gaining first class degrees for both. I completed my post-graduate Legal Practice Course in London, but I always knew I wanted to return home to the North East when I finished my studies and started work.

I have always worked in Newcastle, spending 12 years at international law firm Womble Bond Dickinson before making the move to Sintons. I have specialised in wills, trusts, powers of attorney and inheritance tax planning ever since qualifying as a solicitor in 2012, and the work is still interesting and varied every day.

What attracted you to join Sintons?

In the wake of the post-Covid Great Resignation, most private client teams across the country were struggling to recruit and retain lawyers, and those who remained were struggling to cope with the workload.

Bucking that trend, the Sintons private client team was going from strength to strength, steadily recruiting into the team at all levels and attracting an ever-expanding client base from all over the UK. That made me think Sintons must be doing something right, both for its clients and for its staff.

There is a fine line between being a big enough firm to be able to provide a full service to clients, but not being so big that teams don’t know each other and can’t easily work together, and clients don’t know who their lawyers are. Sintons gets that balance just right.

What does your role involve?

My work involves a full range of lifetime planning including wills, trusts, tax planning, powers of attorney and advance decisions.

I have developed a specialism in trust law and spend a lot of my time advising those who are thinking about creating a trust, and those who are involved with an existing trust whether as a trustee or beneficiary. I can assist with the entire life cycle of a trust, advising on the type of trust to create, the powers and duties of the trustees, options for changing the way people can benefit from the trust, moving assets into and out of the trust, ongoing administrative and compliance matters, and bringing the trust to an end.

I also have a special interest in wills and estate planning for clients with cross-border connections. I regularly act for clients who live overseas and who own assets in England, as well as clients based here who own foreign assets, advising on domicile and applicable law as well as preparing the relevant English documents.

My day to day work involves meeting clients of all backgrounds from entrepreneurs to the very elderly, and from lottery winners to owners of landed estates. I enjoy getting to know them and finding out what is their main motivation for wanting to make a will, create a trust or appoint an attorney, and then working out the best way to achieve their goals.

The law can be complex, and my aim is always to provide advice in a way that is user friendly and meaningful.

What have been your personal highlights to date?

It is satisfying to hear clients say what a relief it is when their will has been updated, or they have made their lasting power of attorney, and they can finally cross this off their list (where it may have been for some time!) safe in the knowledge that they and their loved ones will be looked after in the way they want.

We get to know some clients very well, particularly where there are ongoing matters perhaps relating to a family business, an estate or a family trust, and it is always a highlight to be involved in a family’s long-term planning as a trusted adviser.

Particular highlights that spring to mind include:

  • preparing flexible wills for a couple with children including a severely disabled child, striking a balance between making sufficient financial provision for the needs of the disabled child and still wanting to benefit the other children and to recognise their efforts and kindness in supporting their sibling;
  • advising a very deserving lottery winner on the ways in which they can use their winnings to benefit themselves and their family over the coming years and decades;
  • getting to the bottom of complicated trust documents dating back hundreds of years to enable the trust assets to be used for the benefit of a local hospital.

It was also great to complete my STEP Diploma, recognised worldwide as a mark of excellence in this area of law, and especially to receive one of only two distinctions awarded across the country for my Wills and Administration of Estates exam.

The award-winning Wills, Trusts & Estates team is one of the most highly-rated in the North of England. What are the advantages of being part of it?

I am very proud to be part of a team that has an excellent reputation, in the North and beyond, for providing the very best legal advice and also for being pleasant to work with.

We are a close-knit team covering a range of specialisms, and everyone really knows their stuff with many of us having achieved the STEP qualification. That means there are always interesting ideas to discuss, and there is always someone to answer your questions.

We all work hard and want to be the best we can be, but we also laugh together every day, and that is a breath of fresh air.

How does Sintons differ from other firms you have worked in?

Sintons achieves that elusive combination of providing the highest quality legal advice with a genuinely personal touch.

As well as being independently recognised as experts in our field, we know the importance of getting to know our clients and listening to what each of them wants to achieve, so we understand their priorities and can make sure our work is tailored to their aims.

There’s a great team spirit and everyone across the whole business works together to achieve high standards and to provide a great client service. Unlike elsewhere this seems to happen effortlessly, which in large part is because everyone is based in a single office in Newcastle allowing for true collaboration and collegiality.

Although I’ve only been at Sintons for a few months, I feel very settled and at home here, which is down to the friendliness, supportiveness and enthusiasm of its people.

What are your interests outside of work?

I love music and I sing in my local choir. I have a weakness for buying books, but most of my spare time is spent with my husband and our two little boys so that helps to keep my reading habit under control.

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